Alice Mortiboy

Alice Mortiboy

Associate - Patent Attorney

What was your first ever job?

Before working at Potter Clarkson, I had a variety of part-time jobs which ranged from working at a children’s adventure park selling ice creams, to a farm selling tickets for lamb feeding, to working as a waitress in a golf club.

How did you get involved in intellectual property and what first attracted you to the field?

I first got involved in IP during my master’s when looking at different careers. My supervisor at the time suggested a career as a patent attorney. I then spent some time with his patent attorney along with a trainee and learnt more about the role and what I could expect from a career in IP.

I was attracted to a career in IP as I knew I wanted to continue using my chemical background, but I did not want to be working in the lab. After gaining experience in both academic research and industry, I knew I wanted to continue working in science, but I also enjoyed the business strategy and commercial side that came with working in industry. 

Working in IP seemed to be the perfect match between science, business and continual learning. 

When did you join Potter Clarkson and why?

I joined in September 2017 and was offered the job just before graduating. However, Potter Clarkson were flexible in the start date and very encouraging about taking a final summer holiday before starting a full-time career.

I chose Potter Clarkson after it was recommended to me by a partner at another firm. Hearing positive things about the firm from a competitor really highlighted what a prestigious and respected operation it was. However, the main thing that stuck out from me was when he described the people who worked here as being approachable and down-to-earth. This was later confirmed when I came for an interview. 

What is your area of speciality and why did you choose it?

Chemistry, as I studied chemistry at university. 

What does a typical day in your role entail and what do you most enjoy about it/find most challenging?

There is no real typical day. Every day I am working on different cases, with different technologies and different legal problems. The variety of work is one of the things I find the most interesting. However, most days I can expect to spend some time organising and prioritising work, working on responses to examination reports and discussing work with my line manager and other colleagues. 

One of the things I most enjoy about my role is being set a problem and then investigating how to solve it. The solution is not always as straight forward as it might seem, and often we have to consider different solutions while weighing up commercial implications for the client – this can often involve several discussions with the client, the patent examiner and colleagues to find the best result.

The most challenging part of the job, as I am sure most trainees will agree, is the professional exams we have to take. However, Potter Clarkson is very supportive with the exams, offering both in-house tutorials given by the partners and sending us on a variety of revision courses. 

What has been the highlight of your career at Potter Clarkson so far?

In my second year at Potter Clarkson I was able to go on secondment to the Copenhagen office. This was a great experience as I was able to work in a new environment and explore a new city.

What advice would you give anyone looking to enter the field?

My advice for anyone looking to become a trainee patent attorney would be to do some research beforehand and try and speak to people who are already in the profession. Not only will this help you with the interview process but it will also give you a good insight into whether it is the career for you – it is a long time training, with a lot of challenges along the way, but it is definitely worth it. 

Also, do not be afraid that you are not the ‘right fit’ for a legal career. I have found the profession very inclusive with everyone entering the profession at different stages in life and from a variety of backgrounds.